Using, Choosing, and Using an educational consultant

Introduction

The aim of this document is to provide advice and guidance in choosing a consultant in the field of education. You may be the headteacher or principal of a school or college, an officer in a local education authority (LEA) or school district, or the director of a private company wishing to undertake work in the educational sector. This article focuses mainly on information and communication technology (ICT), but the underlying principles also apply more generally.

Using a consultant

Consultants, at least in the UK, have a poor reputation as a species, and yet they are in greater demand than ever. Why? Why would any organisation elect to use a consultant rather than hiring someone? There are several reasons for this.

Short-term work

Some work is, by its very nature, short-term. If, for example, you are having a new computer suite installed, you might want some advice from an external person who has no axe to grind – and whom you can blame when half the staff complain about the design, the equipment and so on!

Expertise

In a specialist area, such as ICT, it’s quite likely that the school doesn’t have the expertise in-house to do what it needs to do within a particular time scale.

Cost

Although consultants can be expensive, it is (or should be) a relatively short-term expense. And don’t forget that you don’t have all the on-costs, like pension contributions. These can add up to 20% of the salary costs. Also, if the consultant goes on holiday or falls ill, you don’t incur any extra expense.

Choosing a consultant

When choosing a consultant or adviser to assist your school in ICT, whether for Hands-On Support, training, strategic development or any other aspect of ICT, it’s important to get the right person or company for the job.

To help you do so, here is a list of questions you may wish to ask before hiring someone. You are unlikely to find any person or company who can answer “yes” to all of these questions, so you will need to bring your own professional judgement to bear on your decision.

1. Is the consultancy independently accredited by a quality assurance scheme, such as by NaaceMark or similar scheme? If not, is it seeking accreditation? Note that an answer of “No” in either case is not necessarily a bad thing. In my own experience, the work itself is so time-consuming that it’s quite difficult to go through the hoops required to prove that you can do what you’re doing! That’s why the next few questions are important too.

2. Is the consultant a member of a relevant organisation, such as (in the UK) Naace or the Society for Education Consultants? These types of organisation provide a certain degree of quality assurance in the sense that they won’t accept just anybody as members, although they will give no guarantees about the quality of work undertaken by their members. Also, they often provide useful information about the sector in which the consultant works, which in theory at least keeps the consultant up-to-date on current developments in the field.

3. Ask for details of similar work undertaken by the consultancy, and for details of satisfied clients – but bear in mind that a reluctance to supply such details may be due to considerations of confidentiality.

4. Ask for references, testimonials, or details of evaluations, ie evidence of quality assurance of the consultants’ work.

5. You can also ask how the consultant gets most of its work. Word of mouth is a good sign.

6. Ask for the CVs of the consultants who will be working in your organisation if you decide to sign up this consultancy.

7. Is the consultant qualified to undertake the work? This could be an academic qualification, accreditation as an inspector or training provider in one or more schemes, or qualification by experience.

8. Has the consultant been on relevant training in the last year?

9. Ensure that the consultancy agrees not to subcontract the work without prior discussion with you, the client.

10. If you are considering the consultant for staff training, ask if you can attend one of their training sessions in another school.

11. Ask for other evidence that will help you decide if the consultancy is the best for this particular work in your school, such as a client list (but note point about confidentiality above), examples of video work, published work or a website.

Using a consultant

Once you’ve decided on a particular consultant, have an agreement drawn up that ensures, for example, that you will be kept informed of progress. For example, it may not be unreasonable to ask for a summary every 2 weeks, if you are an LEA and the consultant is working in your schools.

Once you’ve hired a consultant, make sure you get the best value for money. This means some or even all of the following, depending on the particular circumstances:

Have a clear set of aims and objectives that you are both agreed upon. This may be developed in discussion with the consultant before signing on the dotted line, but there must be a clear set of expectations by the time the consultant starts work.

Make sure that the consultant has the tools needed to do the job effectively. This could mean access to the computer network, desk space, essential contact information and so on.

Ensure that you have all the contact information you need too: phone and fax numbers, a mobile phone number too, perhaps, with the facility for leaving messages, and an email address.

Put in place whatever is needed to enable the consultant to “hit the ground running”. If, for example, you spend the first morning discussing what the consultant should do, you’re throwing money down the drain: all that should have been agreed beforehand – unless, of course, there is a need for a sudden change in plan, although even in those situations there should have been a contingency plan (a “Plan B”) in place.

Don’t keep asking the consultant to do more and more in an unplanned kind of way. If more work is needed, discuss whether it could feasibly be done well in the agreed time, or whether more days need to be allocated for it.

Conclusion

With proper groundwork when choosing a consultant, and sound planning, hiring a consultant to help you with your ICT work can be an excellent means of achieving the aims of your organisation.

http://www.ictineducation.org

High School Athletes Turn to Educational Consultants For College Search and Scholarships

Most student athletes do not have the right people helping them with their college search or the college planning process. The “blue chip” athlete is usually bombarded with all kinds of information and pressure from schools long before the student is even thinking about college. Other high school athletes may need to do a little more to gain the attention of interested coaches. Most student athletes work with a high school coach, athletic service, or parent who often wants to see them get into “any school” where they can receive an athletic scholarship.

For financial reasons, this might be one solution for high school athletes to get a college education. However, there are better ways. It is possible to help high school athletes find schools where they can not only pursue their athletics, but have their academic and social needs met as well. Many families with student athletes are meeting with educational consultants who guide them through the college search, application process, and athletic recruitment. In the end, they are very pleased with their college choices, especially since many had expected to only have schools that were athletic options without the academic quality. Most are also receiving financial aid and scholarships.

Few high school athletes will be going on to play their sport professionally so it is important that they have the education that will enable them to be successful without their athletics. They need to be prepared to talk with coaches about what the expectations are and ask the right questions to determine whether a program is right for them or not. They need assistance with their college search and choosing schools that are a good fit for them.

High school athletes need all of the information that other students require and more. They should be advised by someone who can be objective and provide them with answers to their questions. They need to be realistic about their athletic abilities and which schools would provide the best fit. Only then will they have the information they need to make the best college decisions, both athletically and academically.

High school athletes and their families are turning to educational consultants who have the experience to help them with their college search and athletic scholarships. A good source for finding a qualified individual is http://www.hecaonline.org. Here you will find a list of educational consultants in your state who have the expertise and experience to assist your high school athlete.

High school athletes need to understand the differences between Division I, II, and III schools and what they can and cannot offer. Although scholarships are only offered at division I and II schools, many division III schools are able to provide financial aid to make their college more affordable. Some Division III schools are as competitive as division I, but again the right fit is what is important.

High school athletes need to consider injuries or other reasons why they might not continue playing their sport in college. That is why it is especially important for the college decision to be a good match. If athletics are no longer an option, the high school athlete should feel that their school is still a good fit and want to continue there as a student.

The right educational consultant can guide your high school athletes through the college search and admissions process, bring them to the attention of interested coaches, and assist them with securing scholarships and financial aid.

Why Overseas Education Consultants?

Education plays an important role in shaping the life of an individual. There are many people who wish to pursue their higher education in their own country while there are others who seek the opportunity of studying abroad.

Well, if you are considering to study abroad, then be aware that it’s not an easy task to get admitted in a foreign university.

How do you go ahead and achieve what you wish for?

There are many overseas education consultants available in different parts of the country that can help you take an informed decision.

There can be various reasons associated with this decision.

Many students wish to continue their education in the other country as they might want to get their majors from the first hand sources, or they are fascinated by the other country’s culture or they may be facing some social or political problems in their native country that forces them to leave their country and study abroad.

No matter what the reason is behind your decision to study abroad, the study abroad consultants in Delhi can guide you in the right direction. Delhi being the capital of the nation is also the hub of education. Almost all top notch universities in India are in Delhi; Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, IIFT, Institute of economic growth to name a few. All of these universities create a positive externality and thus, had led to many “study abroad consultants in Delhi” mushrooming up. The alumni of these excellent universities which are now studying in abroad or have worked in abroad also help these consultants by providing valuable information which then pass out to students seeking assistance while filling up their forms.

How can overseas education consultants help?

Statement of Purpose: Statement of purpose is one of the most critical things which can make or break your chance to seek an admission in a foreign university. And SOPs are not a cake walk. These overseas education consultants can help you get around these in a nice fashion. These consultants have a lot of experience on them which can be useful for you.

Keeping track of dates: When is the last date for which university is a difficult job to handle! Hire a consultant for all this stuff while you work towards your GRE scores.

What to pursue?: Okay, so you have made a decision to study abroad but what to study is a big question. Yes, you may want to study economics, but what particular area in economics. These consultants may actually help you know what your interest is and what subject is currently in demand or what subject will land you with a fat salary?

Numerous overseas education consultants are available through the online mode. You can approach them on their respective websites and get all the information. Reviews and testimonials are also available to help you in choosing the right consultant for you. These consultants are worth their fees as they lead you towards a better future.

British International School Samui – What to Look For in an International School For Your Children

Tthere are 3 British international schools on Samui as a result of the thriving expat community. The demand for quality education has led to the development of schools in Lamai and Chaweng that can offer top class teaching staff, facilities and resources.

While sending your children to a British international school on Samui will no doubt be a strange and possibly scary experience for both you and your child, the schools on Samui can offer a great place for your children to learn, play and grow. Its important to do your homework before you arrive on the island. Don’t rush into choosing a school and make sure that you and your kids are going to be happy with the decision. As soon as possible, get onto the school’s website and take a look at as much as you can. The website will give you a great idea about the quality of education your child can receive; find out if the school hires only fully-qualified teachers and if it is accredited by an international body like the University of Cambridge. If you can, get in touch with the school and ask to be put in contact with parents of children at the school. These opinions will give you a good idea of what to expect.

In order to qualify as a true British international school on Samui, the organisation needs to have an international curriculum and at least be affiliated with an international school accreditation body. Its even better if the school is actually accredited! The school should offer IGCSE (International General Certificate of Seconday Education) or the International Baccalaureate. Your child will need either one of these qualifications in order to have their education internationally appreciated and easily advance into higher and further education.